Are the seeds enough ? What should we bring to our zebrafinch ?

  • By
  • On 08/02/2022
  • In Food


During our visit to the firm Versele-Laga, Dr. P. Ghysels gave us a presentation on bird food and the requirements of this food. This presentation, based on scientific research and experiments, was clear and easy to follow, and provided with many examples.
The result is that we are smarter about food, but we are not yet specialists in bird food.
This article is based on Dr. Ghysels' presentation and presents some points that need attention.

Balanced food

For our zebrafinch, this balanced food consists of the following ingredients:

1. Protein, fat and carbohydrates.
2. Minerals and trace elements such as zinc, iron, etc.
3. Vitamins

The amount of protein needed depends on the situation. During rearing and moulting, this amount is significantly higher than during the resting season. Seed mixtures can never be adequate enough to provide for the normal situation.

Carbohydrates are found as starch in plants and seeds. Fats are concentrated sources of energy. Too much fat in food causes a poor function of other materials in the digestion of food. The history of omega-3 is a good illustration of this case. Fats are found in oil-rich seeds. These seeds may constitute a maximum of 1/5th of the mixture.

Minerals and trace elements must be presented daily. These elements constitute the "fitness" of the bird.
For the female, limestone is a primary necessity. At each egg laid, the amount of limestone of the female decreases by 20%. During the breeding period, the female must be able to keep her limestone stock to a maximum. During this period, it is therefore necessary to provide additional limestone in the food.

Vitamins are not found in sufficient quantities in seed mixtures designed for our zebrafinch. Therefore, they must be added. It is especially important to pay attention to vitamins that can be dissolved in fat such as vitamins A, D, E and K. A excess of these vitamins is stored in the fat of the bird and causes a poor function of several organs.

Zebra finch eating seeds

Some points of attention

The need to add limestone for the female during the breeding season has just been explained. A lack of limestone for young causes twisted bones in the legs and chest. At the limit, this lack can cause fractures.

The lack of vitamins of type A and E gives discoloration of the plumage, poor condition, reduced fertility and low resistance to diseases. A lack of amino acids, especially lysine, is manifested by delayed plumage formation and discoloration. Conventional mixtures do not contain enough lysine.

The conclusions

The composition of the food is very important for the general condition of zebrafinch during all periods: Breeding, exhibition season and rest.
So pay attention to the composition on the packages of mixtures and mash. Pay attention to elements such as limestone and lysine, taking into account that supplements of these elements are needed to obtain a sufficient level in food.

Remember that all birds, like ourselves, show a preference for certain seeds, pies, etc. Making a food recipe for mandarin diamonds is not so simple.

Luk LIEVROUW, amateur breeder.
Article written in 2008, published in 2020.

Belgische Zebravinken Club

Seed food Protein Fat Carbohydrate Vitamin Limestone Lysine Trace elements Minerals